I’m not sure why I didn’t write my birth story yet. I haven’t even written my birth story from Samuel’s birth yet. Maybe I didn’t know to do it, maybe I didn’t think I had time, or maybe I just didn’t know what to say. I still don’t exactly, but I want to try. I want to try to remember as much as I can and never forget. Giving birth is a miracle, and it is something I want to share with whomever will listen.
On January 21, 2008, I woke up at 6:45am with contractions that were like the Braxton-Hicks contractions I had been having. If I was just going by the actual feeling of the contractions, I don’t think they were really any different, but for some reason I just knew something was up. Chris had not yet woken up to get ready for work, and I just laid there by myself, with my son & husband snoozing, and thinking, “This may be the day”. When Chris woke up a few minutes later, I informed him that I may be calling him a little later that day to come home early. I don’t know if he really believed me. I’m not sure if I really believed me. It all just seemed so unreal at the time. I watched as Chris got ready for work & left. Samuel & I laid in bed a little longer, with contractions coming every 10 minutes or so. We got up & went throughout our morning routine as usual… diaper change, brush teeth, go downstairs for breakfast, etc. I called my midwife, Linda, at some point that morning & gave her a heads up. I went to the bathroom probably 10 times that morning hoping to see some water leaking, or bloody show, or something. At one point I saw a bit of bright red blood when I wiped, so I let Linda know the next time we talked. She said if there was any type of bloody show at all then this was it. Then I got excited. Contractions all morning & into the afternoon were still 10 minutes apart. They were getting slightly more intense, but not that much. It was a little disappointing, but I knew my body knew what it was doing. It was my job to rest as much as I could & enjoy being pregnant & having only 1 child for a little bit longer.
When I talked to Linda around noon, I expressed to her my slight disappointment & concern that my contractions weren’t picking up. She said that my body was taking care of my toddler & to not be surprised if the contractions didn’t pick up until he went down for a nap that afternoon, or possibly even that night. That night?! I didn’t want to wait that long! But I knew she was right. I was taking care of Sam, and I definitely wasn’t able to concentrate on contractions at that moment. I was alone with my little boy and my body knew that he was still the priority at the time. At around 2:15pm, Samuel & I decided to nap. I don’t even remember if he was in his bed or mine… it’s funny how the mind can play tricks on you after awhile… but at any rate, I slept restlessly for a few minutes. As soon as I relaxed & knew Samuel was asleep the contractions started coming faster & harder. Woo hoo! I was excited. And then, I got nervous. I mean, it was only 19 months ago that I had given birth & I could still remember the discomfort of it all. For this labor I wanted to be more in control of my breathing, because that was my one fear from laboring with Samuel: I felt like I was hyperventilating & couldn’t catch my breath. For Addison’s birth I had decided to look up ways to breathe. I found one in particular that I liked, but I modified it (like I do with practically everything) to fit me a little better. When a contraction would start I would take a deep breath, then breathe normally while it was in the heat of the contraction, then as it was leaving I would take a deep breath again & breathe out really slowly, sometimes with a soft “shush” sound. I found the “shush” sound to be very helpful in my labor this time around. It was like I was telling myself, “You got through another contraction. There will be more, but you can do it. When you hear the shush, another one will be over with, and you’ll be one contraction closer to holding your little girl!”
At around 3:30pm I talked to my midwife again & told her how they were picking up. She asked me about how far apart they were & I said maybe 5 minutes, but when I was talking about it I got another contraction. I said, “How far apart was that?” and she said about 3-4 minutes. She told me I could come in to the birth center or stay at home for a little longer; it was up to me. I said I’d let her know. I went to my mom’s group website & updated everyone that I would be going to the birth center soon, that I was having contractions 3-4 minutes apart, and I also txted my husband that I would like him to come home. Now. He had a meeting with his boss at that very moment & he told her he would have to rush through it because his wife was in labor. Fortunately she understood & let him go quickly. Around 4pm Chris got home. He came upstairs where I was on the bed, contracting, breathing, & playing with Sam, and he told me later he didn’t really know why I had called him so soon. I was so calm, and acted so differently this time, breathing through the contractions, that he thought we had a lot longer of a time to go before we had to leave for the birth center. I told him I wanted to go to the birth center & he was a little shocked. I remember him looking at me with those gorgeous big brown eyes with this goofy “I’m gonna be a dad again” look on his face during my contractions. He took a couple of pictures (with my permission) & we called Linda & told her we’d be on our way soon. We called Jess, our good friend who was going to be watching Sam during the labor/birth. She had just gotten back from a youth conference only an hour or so before & was taking a nap. I felt bad waking her up, but I knew she was almost as excited as we were, and considered it a privilege to be there for the birth, so she jumped in her car & even beat us there! We also called my parents & told them it was time. I had talked to my mom earlier that day saying I thought it would be today, and she had already left work & had gone to get my dad. They had been packed up for the last few days & were ready to go at a moment’s notice. The 9 hour trip had started for them.
We told Sam we’d be having a baby that day, packed us all up (forgetting his dinner – oops!), and headed to the birth center. When we got there the tub was all ready to go, Jess was ready to take Sam & hang out in the “pillow room” (a room with a bunch of pillows, toys, & videos), and I was laboring away. I was still breathing through the contractions, feeling more “in control” but also still feeling nervous. I didn’t really want to go through with all of it, but I knew I had to, & I knew it was the best way for my baby & me. I could do this. I had done this. I would do this. And it was time.